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How to Expand Flexibility In Your Bow Hand

When it comes to playing string instruments, flexibility training is key. However, most string players tend to focus on their right hand and leave their left hand, or bow hand, neglected. It is important to dedicate some of your practice time to bow hand flexibility in addition to working on note shifting and vibrato. A strong bow hand will be able to find the balance between structure and flexibility that allows you to play better notes with more ease.

Bow-hold Flexibility

person rubbing their hands

Developing flexibility in your bow hand is key to producing a rich, consistent sound. When you play, you don’t push your bow, you pull it. This means you put more weight on your pinkie for down bow, while shifting the weight to your index finger and thumb for up bow. Think of your fingers like a paintbrush—attempting to paint with stiff bristles will leave you with inferior coverage, so you want to make sure you’re prioritizing flexibility and motion in addition to strength.

Exercises to Start Today

There are some simple exercises you can begin today to build flexibility in your hand. Try to move your bow with only your fingers, keeping your arm and wrist still to increase your control and range of motion. You can also do “bow push ups” to improve flexibility and strength. Simply place a pencil on the fingers of your bow hand and bring the pencil into your palm by curving your fingers. Flexibility is crucial to mastering anything from simple scales to the hardest violin concertos, so it’s important to start developing that skill today.

Additional Resources

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